Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Recommending Settings to Posters on Rocky Talky

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Hiya all. We have so many lovely folks helping out on RT these days! I am hoping some of the other long time members who post on this board will contribute to help me help give you feedback on setting recommendations.

So I have noticed recently that any time someone mentions "halo" that helpers are quick to recommend Victor halos.

Similarly, there have been threads where someone looking for a solitiare is posted Vatche or even MWM settings.

I think this is wonderful, as these are definitely vendors that produce very high end products. But they aren't for everyone (no matter how lovely).

The concern is that these settings are being posted for people that have modest budgets.

In two separate threads for posters with 3k budgets MWM and Vatche settings (respectively, and by different posters) have been posted, for example. Now I love these settings as well!

However for posters with an all in budget of 3k, these are just not feasible. Vatche settings in white gold start at around 1200 at best. And MWM has a higher starting point (and I believe he only works in platinum).

As for Victor (and this applies for Steven and other handforged benches) halos, start at best, in the 4k-6k range. So someone with an all in budget of 6k is not going to be able to afford a Victor setting.

It's important to understand the price of the setting you are recommending. I understand that some of the websites do not post their pricing, so if you have a question about what the price range of the settings is ask the vendor or one of the posters who have worked with the vendor to give you a range.

There are lovely settings available in most price ranges. Some times that means you have to look at Stuller's settings. Or Adwar. Or for halos you go to Ritani or Beverly K. Sometimes it means you recommend not going with a halo at that time, and saving up for a reset.

I just wanted to post this more as a PSA. Because I know that everyone's goal is to help out the best that they can.

Please feel free to comment and to add to anything I've said.
 

Madison2

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
507
Excellent Thread Gypsy!
When I was looking into a Halo Setting for my 8 main cushion diamond, everyone here recommended Victor and Steven. After contacting both of them I found out it was not in my budget the price they were both asking.
I ended up using Brilliantly Engaged for my halo setting. My cushion was purchased through IDJ from Yekutiel.
Now I recommend IDJ to those on a budget because they carry designer settings and they also do custom which from what I have seen on Show me the Bling, are very nice rings.

I now always ask the person, what is your budget before I recommend a vendor. Although Steven Kirsh and Victor Canera make stunning rings, they are not for everyone.
 

soxfan

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
4,791
Well said Gypsy! You contribute so much to PS and I hope everyone who is offering advice to new posters reads this thread. :appl: :appl: :appl:
 

Niel

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Messages
18,853
Thank you for posting something well thought out and thorough. I've noticed increasingly the go to for anyone with a halo is "I would use vc" and it's been driving me a bit batty.

I would say the same of DK, though.

Going to custom route can be stressful and presents challenges that newbies may not even be aware of. Such as insurance for the need for a keen eye to ensure you dont miss a derail.

Anyone with a setting inspiration is immediately sent do dk, and I don't always think that's necessary.
 

po720

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
73
Rough rock here and just want to thank you all, gypsy for putting the time and thought into posting this, and everyone else reading/commenting for reflecting on and considering the range of budgets out there. I can't imagine this being a "whatever" purchase for anyone coming to price scope, regardless of budget size, as everyone here is putting so much careful thought and planning into their ventures and to be mindful of that as more seasoned pros, says a lot. Thank you all!!
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
As a very new member myself, I've seen lots of different recommendations on jewelers in my own threads asking for advice as well as other threads. There are clearly a lot of options out there and a select subset that are commonly recommended by the well-informed (and extremely helpful) members here. Would it be possible for someone to outline the general levels (I say levels, as it seems price points can vary widely by type of setting) for different jewelers? Or are there too many variables?

For example, I've seen Stuller recommended for more modest budgets and Victor/MWM on the other end of the spectrum. Would there be a couple go-to options in each level for both off-the-rack and custom made settings?
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
So yes, I suppose we could try to categorize ring designers by price. It is hard, because as noted, it really depends on the actual setting. Ritani and Beverly K both have very mid range pricepoints and even some expensive settings, but they do also have some lower priced settings that are great alternatives to recommending custom.

For modest budgets: (under 1000 to1500 or so for halo)
Stuller
Adwar
NY settings
Gabriel Co
SOMETIMES Beverly K (it really depends on the setting) but they're stuff doesn't look 'modest' at all.
Ritani's lowest priced halos and settings
James Allen and Blue Nile too. But Blue Nile will only set their own stones and both have had issues with pave losing melee so I try not to recommend them. Also both have below average prong work.

For custom modest budget:
David Klass or IDJ's CAD bench. But IDJ does have a handforged bench and they can do really high end designs too.

The list for midrange budgets is too long for me. If someone wants to take a stab at it they are welcome too.
For custom most CAD benches are mid-range. MWM is higher end of midrange and also he is a CAD manufacturer.

Custom for high end budgets:
Victor Canera
Erika Winters
Maytal Hannah
Steven Kirsch
IDJ's Hand Forged bench
Leon Mege (make sure they have read reviews on here for his work, I personally do not recommend him ever).
BE has recently had a lot of bad reviews so I stopped recommending them as well. But they also have a handforged bench.

There have been recent reports of Victor and Steven not accepting custom work when they are busiest unless you buy your center stone from them. So keep that in mind.

Also for VERY high end budgets there is: http://www.mc2jewels.com/ But it is my understanding they do not, normally, set outside stones. So this is for people who do not mind paying Harry Winston type prices, but want something less common.

There are SO many jewelry designers out there that this is not an inclusive list. This list is primarily a list of vendors we commonly recommend because we can attest to the quality of their pieces. There are other great benches and some very terrible benches out there too.

As Neil noted, custom is NOT for everyone. And often it is best to just recommend a stock setting. WF and BGD have fantastic benches that can do great prong work and their in house stock settings are great quality. Listen to what the poster wants before recommending custom. There is very little out there that can not be found in a stock setting for a round. Now fancy shapes... a little different. But for certain rings there is absolutely no need to go custom.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,495
I had been away from the forum for a time (busy + trying to resist temptation!) and over the past couple of weeks that I've been back I noticed Victor getting recommended literally every post even when the person's budget was below the starting price of his stuff and was puzzled by it.

And agreed on custom often being too stressful for newbies - they don't know what they're looking at or how to tell how the CAD will match up with the final product, and are often distressed by things like stones not being shown on CAD, milgraining or engraving not being shown, etc. Plenty of people who come looking for rings don't want to get too involved in the nitty-gritty. They don't need it to be an experience the way we like it to be. Telling people who already seem out of their depth to go custom, or worse, go custom with a hand-forged jeweler where they won't even get CADs, isn't going to produce the kind of smooth experience they want. From helping a lot of friends buy engagement rings, I've figured out that the average person sees choosing the stone and the setting separately and maybe even choosing the wedding band separate to that as plenty of customization - most see anything above walking in, picking a pre-made ring out of a case, and walking out with it that day as "custom" to some extent.
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Thanks for that, Gypsy, incredibly helpful! It certainly helps a newbie put jewelers into context. Now I just need to think about my own plans... (which I'll save for another thread).
 

Polished

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
1,068
Personally I think settings matter. There are people out there who would have no intention of upgrading their ring; they get an engagement ring once and hopefully they choose something that will continue to be cherished. For some people with a modest budget, they still want the package and it might work out better if they compromise a bit on the diamond (not cut) and spend a little more on the setting. Whiteflash or BGD have some lovely settings in that mid range price. Such as:

http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/comfort-fit-surprise-diamond-ring-183.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/legato-sleek-line-solitaire-engagement-ring-728.htm

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/melissa-18k-white-gold-5366w18
http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/ashleigh-14k-white-gold-5853w14
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
I agree Polished. But Stuller especially has some nice solitaire options. That saiid as you say the in house made stock settling s as opposed to designer settings at places like WF can be in budget with some judicious juggling.

BGD especially has some lovely lower price point settings that are worth looking at. You posted my favorites at both vendors.
 

po720

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
73
Thank you gypsy for that list!

Can anyone comment on the price ranges for modest, mid range, high end etc?

Knowing the difference between the cad and hand forged is something I am just finding out now as I am working on upgrading my stone and I wish I (or my husband 4 years ago) knew the difference and value you get for what you spend. I got a Gabriel and co setting back in 2012 with a sticker price over 4K (https://www.gabrielny.com/engagement-ring/ER6167W83JJ/amavida ) and while my husband showed me a few designer settings recommended by friends, I was not at all excited about the design of the designer settings and just liked the look of the Gabriel one. Now if I knew that I could get a hand forged setting for a thousand or so more, maybe I would have looked at them differently but I certainly didn't think at the time that I was settling for a "budget" setting... Information is everything!!!

If I had to pick again I would still not want an Emilya but I wouldn't turn down https://www.victorcanera.com/rings/engagement/oval-and-half-moon-pave-trilogy
Or
https://www.victorcanera.com/rings/engagement/the-jana-five-stone-trellis-solitaire ;-)
 

arkieb1

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
9,512
I've been guilty a few times for recommending Victor to those on limited budgets but only when they purchase a stone as well from him because they then get a discount on the setting and I figure if it works out to what some of them would have paid elsewhere for a setting or only a little more, then they are better off with that option.

Having said that I've seen plenty of people both new posters and ones making recommendations that have unreal expectations of what these settings actually cost. And the prices of the high end and what I would call the middle end vendors have gone up lately too. Grace's bench is another I will mention that is in between Victor and David Klass for price and quality, she has some great bench guys. Yvonne Raley does some decent work on a budget with coloured stones, so I would add both of them to the list.

Brian Gavin still makes one of the best Tiffany copies IMHO on a budget. Their prices have gone up substantially in the last few years too.
 

rubybeth

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,565
I would add Caysie van Bebber of CvB Inspired Design, for mid-to high-end, depending on the type of setting: www.cvbinspireddesign.com/ (more diamonds or platinum = higher cost, white/rose/yellow gold solitaires are probably mid-range pricing).

Another piece of advice is to always encourage people buying rings for the first time to buy their diamond and setting from the same source. It is possible to get these from separate sources, but it complicates things. If you love a Whiteflash setting, get your diamond there, for example. If you love a stone from Good Old Gold, they can likely get a setting to suit. Getting them separately is an additional layer of complication that most newbies don't want to bother with.
 

shaggy1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
146
distracts said:
Telling people who already seem out of their depth to go custom, or worse, go custom with a hand-forged jeweler where they won't even get CADs, isn't going to produce the kind of smooth experience they want. From helping a lot of friends buy engagement rings, I've figured out that the average person sees choosing the stone and the setting separately and maybe even choosing the wedding band separate to that as plenty of customization - most see anything above walking in, picking a pre-made ring out of a case, and walking out with it that day as "custom" to some extent.

I just want to highlight this because I think it is an excellent point. Some people just want a rock and an off-the-shelf setting. They are already stressed by the concept of not buying the rock preset in the settings the way they see it at every single jewelry store they have ever been into. Then we throw at them that they are going to buy on the internet. And maybe they're going to work with a jeweler that they have never met to create the setting from a drawing which the buyer may not be able to conceptualize on their fingers. It's just way too much for most people who come here to buy an engagement ring.

I recall a recent thread where the poster had ordered a crap setting from Jared which she loved but ultimately returned. She kept spinning with all the discussion of custom and other options, and in the end she bought something ELSE from a mall store. Really distressing. I wondered if it was all of the different options that threw her, or if she just couldn't get past the notion of buying something on the Internet.
 

teobdl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
986
IDJ has been amazing working with me for a few jewelry pieces the past 3 years. They work strictly within budget and have always been able to find things close to, if not exactly, what I'm looking for. The final price is always less (sometimes significantly less) than other vendors are willing to go.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    June’s Birthstone Trinity
    June’s Birthstone Trinity
    Memorial Day Jewelry 2020
    Memorial Day Jewelry 2020
    Van Cleef & Arpels Perlee Clovers Bracelet
    Van Cleef & Arpels Perlee Clovers Bracelet

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top